Prosecutors drop murder charge against man who spent 13 years in prison

Ohio Innocence Project at UC speaks with Local 12 about dismissal of case against Marcus Sapp

Marcus Sapp won’t face another trial for a murder case he had nothing to do with.  A judge dismissed charges earlier this month that came after Sapp served 13 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted.

The Ohio Innocence Project at the University of Cincinnati investigated Sapp’s case for years with student teams uncovering exculpatory evidence that should have been presented during Sapp’s trial that indicated another party was guilty of the 2008 shooting death of Andrew Cunningham. Jurors never heard evidence that a surviving victim of a home invasion had identified another person shortly after the murder.

Instead they heard the testimony of a jailhouse informant, a felon who routinely swapped testimony for leniency in his own cases. OIP argued for a new trial for Sapp so all the evidence could be presented. He was released in January 2023 and awaiting a new trial date.

OIP's Pierce Reed is shown standing next to Marcus Sapp, marty Levingston and Justice Michael Donnelly.

OIP's Pierce Reed is shown with Marcus Sapp, marty Levingston and Justice Michael Donnelly. Photo provided.

“Prosecutors had a duty to turn over exculpatory evidence and there was considerable evidence to show that Marcus was innocent and that someone else committed this crime,” said Kate Flexter, a Rosenthal Post-graduate Fellow at the Ohio Innocence Project. “That was never turned over to the defense.”

Flexter and Marty Pinales, defense attorney for Sapp, spoke with Local 12 about the case against Sapp finally ending.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Melissa Powers says a retrial of the case against Sapp would be impossible. She also released a statement saying she still believed Sapp was guilty. That drew a strong reaction from Pinales.

"The prosecutor should be down on her knees apologizing to Marcus instead of releasing stupid statements,"Pinales told Local 12.

Flexter says she spoke with Sapp via phone after a judge dismissed the case. Sapp was speechless but also thankful that his nightmare was over.

"He's been living with this cloud over his head for more than a year just waiting to be retried, and he's had to go back to court for all these different hearings just living with the constant stress," Flexter told Local 12.

View the Local 12 story online.

Read about Sapp’s case in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

View Fox 19’s coverage of the Sapp case.

Featured top image from Istock.

Related Stories